Airplanes of the Past Home Page The story of the B-17F Flying Fortress "Boeing Bee" S/N 42-29782



B-17 Flying Fortress Surviving Aircraft: Boeing Bee

B-17F Flying Fortress "Boeing Bee" S/N 42-29782

Whether as a memorial in a park, a fire fighting operator, crop sprayer, air tanker, or movie star, this B-17 has had anything but a static life. The airplane began life in Seattle in Boeing's Plant II on February 13, 1943. Accepted into the Army Air Force as 42-29782, the plane was modified in Wyoming and then assigned training units at Blythe Field and then McClellan Field, both in California.

In January 1944, 42-29782 left for the European Theater. While it didn't see combat, it stayed in Britain for three months. It would visit overseas again, but not in a military capacity. The B-17 remained with the Army Air Force at Drew Field in Florida through the end of the war.

On November 5, 1945, the airplane was withdrawn from service and shipped to Altus, Oklahoma, for disposal where it remained until 1946 when the War Assets Administration transferred the airplane to Stuttgart, Arkansas, for display as a War Memorial.

Meanwhile, from 1968 to 1985, the plane continued to do various spraying, fire fighting, and tanker jobs. But its missions also included flights to Hawaii, Alaska, and England. In 1988, with a new owner named Robert Richardson, top and bottom turrets were installed and the plane became based at the Museum of Flight for the first time. After its quick spell with the Memphis Belle film shoot in England, the B-17 came back for good and airplane restoration began in 1991.

The photos below of "Boeing Bee" were taken in May of 2013. It is a very well done restoration, and we highly recommend a visit to see it up close and personal!

Other Surviving B-17 Flying Fortresses

A total of 39 surviving B-17 airframes are located in the United States. Twelve B-17 are still airworthy today, two F models, and 10 B-17G models. An additional 18 B-17s are on static display around the United States, and 9 aircraft are undergoing restoration or are in storage.

View a list of all surviving B-17 Flying Fortress with models, serial numbers, aircraft name, restoration status and location by state.

B-17 Flying Fortress "Boeing Bee" Photographs

B-17F Flying Fortress "Boeing Bee" - S/N 42-29782 - Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA

B-17F "Boeing Bee" - S/N 42-29782

B-17F Flying Fortress "Boeing Bee" - S/N 42-29782

B-17F "Boeing Bee" - S/N 42-29782

B-17F Flying Fortress "Boeing Bee" - S/N 42-29782

B-17F "Boeing Bee" - S/N 42-29782, cockpit view

Tail section view of B-17F Flying Fortress "Boeing Bee" - S/N 42-29782

Tail section of B-17F "Boeing Bee" - S/N 42-29782